Wisconsin’s northwoods are one of the world’s most inviting places in the world for snowmobilers. This welcome sign appears at Land O’Lakes, near the headwaters of the Wisconsin River. Land O’ Lakes has a full complement of businesses to suit a traveler’s year-round needs, and being on the Michigan border, generally has more snow due to the effects of nearby Lake Superior. I found its rolling, well-treed landscape a fabulous invitation to snowmobile. Visit Land O’Lakes online at www.landolakes-wi.org
Following number 45 highway south, out of Land O’ Lakes, takes you into the town of Conover. It offers a unique blend of forests, lakes and rivers, with a variety of recreational opportunities year-round. To make Conover your destination, check out www.conover.org
Eagle River, home of the World Championships of snowmobile racing, is 19 miles from Conover on Highway 45. Central to the world’s largest chain of 28 lakes, its tall forests and flatter land always make me think of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s children’s book: Little House in the Big Woods. I can guarantee your visit to Eagle River will be fun, as the community offers the kind of hospitality you don’t find just anywhere these days. Online, you can find all the information you’ll need at: www.eagleriver.org, plus you can check out my recommendations in the when-you-go information at the bottom of this article.
Following Highway 45 further South brings you to Three Rivers, another unique small town in the Nicolet National Forest. While main street is short, the architecture provides a contrast from the rustic log buildings featured in other communities. Below is a photo of the Black Forest Pub & Grill.
I also enjoyed a great free tour of the Three Lakes Winery, and a sample of their excellent products. For product information visit: www.cranberrywine.com. Visit the community of Three Lakes at: http://www.threelakes.com/
Sayner, on highway N, is west of Eagle River on a scenic, winding road. Home of the Eliason snowmobile, you could say it’s the birthplace of snowmobiling as we know it in North America. A stop at the Eliason Hardware and Lumber lets you get close enough to touch several of Eliason’s first motor toboggans [snowmobiles]. John Eliason Jr., Carl Eliason’s grandson, also has other historic displays belonging to his grandparents on display. [motor toboggan shown below]
For more information on the Eliason Motor toboggan, visit http://www.eliason-snowmobile.com/
Visit Sayner online at: http://www.sayner-starlake.org/
Another great stop for lovers of snowmobile history is the town of St. Germain, which is on Highway #70, around 12 miles west of Eagle River. Nestled in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, the area is great for outdoor enthusiasts. It is the home of the Bo Boen Snowmobile Club, which is the largest club in the state of Wisconsin, so the area is second to none in the development and maintenance of its snowmobile trails.
The snowmobile museum and International Snowmobile Hall of Fame is another free spot to visit, although sponsorship and donations are always welcome. Online, it’s at: www.snowmobilehalloffame.com. The photo below is the drive leading into its new location just outside St. Germain — don’t you just love those tall trees and blue sky?
Visit St. Germain online for all your traveling information at: www.st-germain.com
Trees, rivers and streams make Wisconsin’s North Woods winters truly breathtaking
WHEN YOU GO
Day’s Inn in Eagle River. We can highly recommend this hotel after spending more than a week exporing the area with the Day’s Inn as our base. Service is wonderful, and their daily continental breakfast by far surpases the average. From different cereals and juices, to toast and pastries, there is lots for everyone. Contact information at: Day’s Inn, Eagle River
We’ve also had great times at the Best Western Derby Inn in Eagle River. With a lounge right off the lobby, evenings are relaxing, plus you never know which snowmobile racers you’re going to run into. More info at: http://www.derbyinn.com/
Lunches & snacks
Leif’s Eagle Cafe. Serving meals from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily they get our vote as the best place for lunch! Try David’s favorite, the ham chop, or my personal favorite, any of their homemade soups. They’re located right next to the Day’s Inn. And many thanks to Claire, one of the best waitresses we’ve ever met, bar none!
Visit with Eagle River’s local residents while you enjoy a beer and snack at: http://www.smugglers-lounge.com/. Our favorite stop after leaving the racetrack, you have to enjoy the decor and the friendly faces.
Copyright 2003, 2009 by Linda Aksomitis.